Community Agriculture Alliance: Horseshoes event grows at fair

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2009 Routt County Fair horseshoe winners

Business competition

First place: Steamboat Smokehouse and Mountain Paint

Second: Bear River Cooperative

Third: Barnes Outfitting

Fourth: Aztec Drilling

Individual competition

First place: Deloy Fox and Allen Fox

Second: Joe Salazar and Levi Salazar

Third: Peggy Dunning and Danny Joe Boyce

Fourth: Rick LaRoy and Jim Dailey

— The Community Agriculture Alliance, or "Ag Alliance," is a local nonprofit corporation that promotes education about rural issues and fosters cooperation between resort and agricultural businesses. The Ag Alliance should not be mistaken for the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley.

For the past six years at the Routt County Fair, the Ag Alliance and some local businesses have sponsored the horseshoe pitching contest. While the contest has grown in the past years, from a handful of teams to this year's high of 22 teams, there is room for a bigger event.

Before describing plans for the future, this year's event deserves some attention. First of all, a group of hardcore volunteers from the Ag Alliance shows up at the County Fair each year to set up the canopies, registration table and pits. These volunteers, along with the Ag Alliance's executive director Marsha Daughenbaugh, schedule the matches, rake the pits, pound the posts, judge the disputes, take down the scores and calculate the winners. They deserve much of the credit for the success of this event.

The cool, cloudy day was a mixed blessing for this year's event. At times, the wind stole hats, paperwork and clothing, and made some of the record-keeping chores a serious challenge. On the plus side, no one got overheated, the gusty wind didn't affect the flight of the horseshoes, and the event was completed when the rain started to fall at about 4 p.m. Congratulations to the winners.

Our plans for the 2010 fair, subject to approval by the Fair Board and the Ag Alliance, are to expand the time for the horseshoe competitions back into the morning Saturday and to separate the community competition into groups that are "more experienced" and "less experienced." Obviously, we will need to find a politically correct term for each group.

We hope to hold a business competition from 10 a.m. to noon, and host 12 teams. We will actively be soliciting businesses to represent the various areas of the county - South Routt, North Routt, West Routt and Steamboat Springs area - in the hopes of having some good contests. Then, beginning shortly after noon, we will be starting the two community groups, to continue for most of the afternoon, leaving time for the 4-H barbecue and then, of course, the livestock sale.

To ensure yourself a spot, you will want to plan to register in advance. And to insure that you are competitive in the group of your choice, you will want to start practicing now. If all of this is of interest to you, please watch for this column for updates, or call Daughenbaugh at the Community Agriculture Alliance office at 879-4370.

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